Category Archives: Virtual Front Page

Your Virtual Front Page for Tuesday, September 6, 2022

First one of these in a while, eh?

  1. ‘Nothing Has Really Changed’: In Moscow, the Fighting Is a World Away. Really? Must be nice. Over here, it seems kinda close. That headline led the NYT for a bit this morning. Now there’s a new one: “Russia Is Buying North Korean Artillery, According to U.S. Intelligence.” More of an actual news story. So apparently, though it’s far away, the killing continues.
  2. She’s so much taller than the Queen! Which seems disrespectful or something. If they’re going to pick a woman again to be PM, why can’t they find one Her Majesty’s size? (It just makes her look smaller than a tall man would.) They probably did, but she turned down the job. Pundits aren’t optimistic for this one’s chances, either. One column I saw out there this morning was headlined, “Liz Truss, an unpopular leader for a troubled Britain.” So hey, good luck, Liz! And mind how you go. If you want a touch-on-the-basics graphic about her, here’s one from the Beeb.
  3. Shooting on Charleston’s King St. injures 6; 2 arrested, including a minor. This is a couple of days old, but it seems the biggest thing out of South Carolina. Here’s an update.
  4. Football’s back. I just thought I’d put out a warning, for the unwary among you. I’ve seen several signs. My mom was watching a game when I went over to see her last night. Bryan is posting cryptic messages about something called a “triple option.” It’s unmistakable. So batten the hatches, and don’t try to go downtown on certain Saturdays. Of course, those of you who are actually happy about all this already knew this was happening…
  5. But the Globe leads with baseball, bless them. I’m really digging The Boston Globe. I’ll probably write a separate post on this, but I’ve really been impressed with the paper since I started subscribing over the summer. Today, while other news outlets are slobbering over football, the first three stories in sports — this one and this one and this one — are about baseball, then on the next screen are a couple or three items about the Pats, then another baseball story! As my wife’s first cousin Tim McCarver used to say, oh, baby, I love it!
  6. American tourist fined for eating ice-cream on steps of Rome fountain. I just included this one so I could say something about “Three Cones in a Fountain,” but I couldn’t think of anything good…

Your Virtual Front Page for Thursday, June 17, 2021


Haven’t had one of these in awhile. But there’s been a lot going on. Here’s some of it:

  1. Affordable Care Act survives third Supreme Court challenge — Remember how so many people were worrying about this before the election, during the hearings for Amy Coney Barrett (while I was cringing over the fact we were having those hearings right then, because I was worried they would hurt Joe’s chances)? Well, they needn’t have worried. It was 7-2. I guess I needn’t have worried so much about the other thing, either.
  2. Biden, Putin hold ‘positive’ summit but divisions remain — This is getting a little old, but makes the page anyway because there wasn’t a page yesterday. Probably the best take I’ve seen on this so far is from E.J. Dionne, who wrote, “Biden to Putin: Stability, sure. But democracy matters.” That said, I should mention something else E.J. refers to: The Putin meeting was a sideshow, unavoidable in light of the last four years of madness. But the important thing that happened this week was the fervent embrace of Biden’s America by Europe. Yes, America is back.
  3. House votes to repeal 2002 authorization for military force — In other news, maybe there’ll be a vote coming up to repeal the Alien and Sedition Acts. Bet you didn’t know we still had those, did you? I’m not sure what the force authorization vote is about, other than people who weren’t there to make a difficult decision trying to distance themselves from Bush’s moves on Iraq, which are now unpopular on both the left and the “America First” right (which I suppose is why it was bipartisan enough that Nancy Mace voted for it). For the record, I would have been against the A&S Acts at the time, but I still probably would have voted for Adams in 1800.
  4. Former SC telecom exec Lightsey to succeed Hitt — This is the closest thing I could find to actual news on the local front. It makes it because Bobby, whom I first knew 30-something years ago in a radically different context, has now had this job for a decade.
  5. Supreme Court unanimously rules for Catholic group in Philadelphia dispute — They’ve been busy today, haven’t they?
  6. Biden is set to sign a law making Juneteenth a federal holiday — This is kind of old, too, but I guess Joe signing it today will make it fresher. And a lot of people are really happy about it, and good for them. Of course, I continue to think it an odd day to celebrate. Were it up to me, we’d be talking about Dec. 6, the day on which the 13th Amendment was ratified in 1865. That’s when slavery ended, not on a day when, in one out-of-the-way place, people first heard about the Emancipation Proclamation from two years earlier, which of course did not end slavery. But I’m kind of a pedant, right?
She's a pretty nice girl, isn't she?

She’s a pretty nice girl, isn’t she?



Here’s why I don’t do more Virtual Front Pages now

Actually, I almost forgot: I'm kind of interested in THIS. Maybe I'll post about it later.

Actually, I almost forgot: I’m kind of interested in THIS. Maybe I’ll post about it later.

… or Open Threads, for that matter.

I tried to do one yesterday, but I just could not bring myself to be interested in anything that was in the news.

So instead, here’s a brief list of the kinds of stories I’m NOT interested in right now, so maybe you’ll understand:

  1. The latest idiocy from Trump — You know — not wearing a mask, firing yet another inspector general, pushing through an embarrassingly unfit nominee to head up U.S. intelligence, “Obamagate,” insulting various women’s appearance on Twitter. It gets tiresome.
  2. Joe Biden’s running mate choice — In particular, all the opinion pieces saying he’s GOT TO pick some lefty, or pretty much anyone except Amy Klobuchar. When the truth is, Klobuchar is the one truly suitable candidate whose name is being mentioned. That’s been the case for a long time now. I just want to get to the election, and get a new president. The prelims are boring me.
  3. Features on how to cope with the stress of quarantine — Because, as I’ve explained, I have trouble identifying with all that because I find this state of affairs to be just fine — personally. I feel terrible about people who are truly suffering — those who have the disease, and the loved ones of those who’ve died, the people who have lost jobs that aren’t coming back, and the people of Hong Kong who are seeing their hopes of freedom dim. But please, enough about how tedious this is and how we can find creative ways to distract ourselves. Oh, I’ve also had enough reporting on the idiots who are resuming gathering in crowds as though this were over.

You get the idea. There’s a sameness out there that is stultifying. And I just haven’t been inclined to post about it. Which is why you get posts like the long one obsessing about a small news item from 1911. I just find those things more interesting. Sorry.

Oh, wait: Just remembered that I’m kind of interested in the subject reflected in the picture I just put at the top of the post. Maybe I’ll post about that later. If it happens

Your Virtual Front Page for Thursday, March 12, 2020

I found this image of the coronavirus on Wikipedia.

I found this image of the coronavirus on Wikipedia.

Hey, you think we’ve got bad news today — tomorrow will be Friday the 13th! I might follow the CDC recommendations for Methuselahs like myself and stay home tomorrow:

  1. Stocks Plunge 10% in Dow’s Worst Day Since 1987 — That’s according to The Wall Street Journal, and I guess they oughta know. Evidently, traders were not reassured by Trump’s address to the nation last night.
  2. No March Madness, no Broadway, no Major League Baseball, no bugger all! — The cancellations keep coming like a torrent. The SC Philharmonic will perform this weekend without an audience — something that might prompt ponderings that are way existential, or lead you to ask questions about trees falling in the forest.
  3. Lindsey Graham will quarantine himself — He was at the same place where Donald Trump was also exposed to someone with COVID-19 — Mar-a-Lago.
  4. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have tested positive for coronavirus — This is an important milestone in the nation’s consciousness about the disease. We have now entered the “people we like and feel that we know” stage. I heard an expert on a podcast today say America didn’t fully take AIDS seriously until Rock Hudson died of it. He said we won’t take the measures that were effective in China and South Korea until something like that happens to someone we know and like. Is this COVID-19’s Rock Hudson moment, or a precursor of it?
  5. Biden, Sanders Deliver Coronavirus Speeches to Contrast Trump — Biden pointed to the need for steady leadership, which we definitely don’t have now, in the face of such a national crisis. That other guy also said some stuff.
  6. McMaster wants $45 million in SC surplus to go to fight coronavirus — The cash would go to DHEC. It would be used to save lives, instead of going to a vote-buying tax credit. Which is praiseworthy.

Yikes. Here’s some nice music to make you feel better. It’s the isolated vocals from a Beatles song that seems appropriate to the moment: “Help!” I never really heard the background harmonies before. I was impressed:

Your Virtual Front Page for Monday, February 24, 2020

Katherine Johnson, hard at work at NASA back in the day.

Katherine Johnson, hard at work at NASA back in the day.

Very quickly here at the end of the day:

  1. New SC poll shows Biden in stronger position — Good news, and I hope it’s right, but part of it goes against my sense of what’s happening. It says it’s a two-man race between Joe and Bernie, with Joe having a good lead. It discounts Tom Steyer, and that feels off to me. The guy has spent millions here (it was $14 million a month ago on broadcast ads alone, and he seems to have stepped things up since then), in South Carolina trying to eat into Joe’s support among black voters, and it’s hard to believe that’s not having some effect (and of course, the effect would be to help Bernie by hurting Joe). But we’ll see…
    1. SIDEBAR: Elizabeth Warren urges supporters to keep fighting during Charleston event — What else would she urge them to do? “Fight” is her favorite verb…
  2. India’s Modi Welcomes U.S. Leader With An Epic Party — He speaks to a cheering crowd of 100,000 alongside India’s nationalist leader, his good bud.
  3. Coronavirus cases spike outside China; Italy confirms 5th death — Now it’s breaking out in Italy?
  4. Katherine Johnson, ‘hidden figure’ at NASA during 1960s space race, dies at 101 — As a big fan of the space program, I honor her. And I need to see that movie; I haven’t yet.
  5. Julian Assange Extradition Hearing Begins In London — I hope the Brits have a really big book, and that they throw it at him. Remember, this guy helped give us Trump.
I couldn't find the embed code for that 2010 sketch in which Bill Hader played Assange. So just click on the image.

I couldn’t find the embed code for that 2010 SNL sketch in which Bill Hader played Assange. So just click on the image.

Your Virtual Front Page for Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The cover of the 1960 Boy Scout Handbook, when no one doubted that we could grow to be trustworthy, loyal, brave, clean, reverent and the rest.

Waving goodbye: The cover of the 1960 Boy Scout Handbook, when no one doubted that we could grow to be trustworthy, loyal, brave, clean, reverent and the rest. I certainly didn’t doubt it.

The weirdness of living in Anno Domini 2020 continues:

  1. Trump grants clemency to ex-governor Rod Blagojevich and financier Michael Milken — You want to know how this plays out? Like this: When Trump pardons Roger Stone, he’ll say: “Hey, I’m fair. I granted clemency to a Democrat.”
  2. Wuhan hospital director dies of coronavirus as infections mount — It truly does not inspire confidence when the victims include people who are not elderly or already sick or somehow cut off from medical health, but people who had full access to presumably the best health care available in the country.
  3. Boy Scouts of America Files For Bankruptcy As It Faces Hundreds Of Sex-Abuse Claims — Just in case you thought our culture hadn’t sunk low enough. Et tu, Boy Scouts? Meanwhile, over on The Guardian‘s main page is this headline: “I laugh maniacally when I orgasm – and my boyfriend can no longer reach climax.” We are some more kinda messed up. As I suggested earlier, it increasingly looks like something happened to shift me into the wrong universe. Maybe it was in 2016, maybe earlier…
  4. NextEra purchase of Santee Cooper could shift risks, liabilities to taxpayers — OK, folks, I am going to say this one more time: As long as we own Santee Cooper, we have the chance to control it and have it do what we want. As soon as it’s privately owned, we will have lost that.
  5. Why there are fewer male vegans — OK, I’m gonna mansplain this for those who find it mysterious: Because meat. Cue the Tim the Toolman noises.

Your Virtual Front Page for Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Walking downtown the last couple of days has been delightful...

Walking downtown the last couple of days has been delightful…

Can you believe it? I go eight months without one of these, and now I do two in two days! You, my readers, are just sooooo lucky!

  1. Trump releases long-awaited Middle-East peace plan — The product of the efforts of that noted diplomatic genius Jared Kushner, it’s just chock full of stuff likely to delight the Palestinians, who weren’t even involved in drafting it! There won’t be two states, Jerusalem is Israel’s permanent capital, and oh, yes — Israel is about to vote on annexing about a third of the occupied West Bank! So what’s not to love? Aren’t you thrilled Trump isn’t letting impeachment distract him from such important work?
  2. Trump defense team finishes opening arguments — I’d tell you what they said, but it would insult your intelligence. I’m just waiting to see John Bolton testify at this point. Meanwhile, this thunderbolt just came across:
  3. Feinstein leans toward acquitting Trump — Apparently, her intelligence was not insulted. Which tells us something about somebody; but I’m not sure what or whom.
  4. U.K. Will Allow Huawei To Build Part Of Its 5G Network, Despite U.S. Pressure — Interesting move, in the last days before Brexit. Meanwhile, in other cellphone news:
  5. Apple Posts Record Revenue on Strong iPhone, App Sales — That part about the app sales intrigues me. I don’t think I have ever downloaded an app that wasn’t free. What about y’all?
  6. Iowa’s 2020 polls are all over the map. But in SC, one candidate has a strong lead — Guess who it is! Here’s a hint: Some key SC supporters of Kamala Harris just lined up behind him. Still don’t know? Here’s another hint, although a bit blurry…

Joe and Kendall

Your Virtual Front Page for Monday, January 27, 2020

You'll note that on their REAL front page, the Post made the same top three play decisions that I did. Not surprising. I used to be a front-page editor, and we tend to think alike.

You’ll note that on their REAL front page, the Post made the same top three play decisions that I did. Not surprising. I used to be a front-page editor, and we tend to think alike.

The very first VFP of the year! Actually, it’s been a lot longer than that. Sorry. Anyway, here goes:

  1. Stocks drop on coronavirus fears — I’m leading with this because it’s global, it’s scary, and it has the potential to be a way bigger deal than anything else in the news. Here’s hoping it’s a bust in the end. We can do without a pandemic. Here’s an explainer from The Washington Post that I found helpful over the weekend. The death toll is up to 81.
  2. Bolton says Trump linked Ukraine aid to Biden probe — And in the realm of politics, this is the biggie, although it’s a day old. Today, everyone’s leading with the Democrats being even more insistent that Bolton needs to be called as a witness. In a rational universe, that would be a foregone conclusion. But that’s not the universe we live in. By the way, I saw this piece this morning about Chief Justice Roberts’ power to call witnesses himself.
  3. The Death of Kobe Bryant — This has been dominating news coverage, especially broadcast news coverage, since yesterday. So I thought I’d include it for those of you who thing there’s not enough sports coverage on this blog. I knew next to nothing about him, but I’m certainly sorry to hear the news about him and his young daughter.
  4. 75 Years After Auschwitz Liberation, Survivors Urge World To Remember — And the first thing to remember is this: “Of the estimated 1.3 million people sent to Auschwitz, some 1.1 million died at the camp, including 960,000 Jews.”
  5. Trump’s standing against Democratic candidates improves, new poll shows — Just in case you didn’t think there was enough bad news on this VFP.
  6. SC smoking bans expand beyond bars and restaurants to parks and beaches — On the other hand, I don’t want to send you away without some good news.
If you haven't checked out Gary Lee Watson's tremendous comics collection at USC's Thomas Cooper Library, the exhibit ends Friday.

If you haven’t checked out Gary Lee Watson’s tremendous comics collection at USC’s Thomas Cooper Library, the exhibit ends Friday.

Your Virtual Front Page for Thursday, May 9, 2019


First one of these in a while. Figured I’d acknowledge the end of the legislative session:

  1. SC Senate approves $115 million tax breaks to bring Carolina Panthers across border — Yeah, they actually did it. In Rock Hill did the Senate a stately pleasure-dome decree… Here’s how they voted in the Senate. Harpo opposed it to the last. Don’t tell me I never give you any sports news.
  2. Session ends without Senate action on education reform — But this is sort of dog-bites-man; we’ve known for some time. It’s only news at all because some folks may actually have thought that the May Day rally would change that.
  3. USC paid firm $137,000 to find its next president — then rejected all finalists — This is kinda old news now, but I include it because we haven’t had a discussion about it yet here: How about that fiasco?
  4. Trump picks former Boeing executive Patrick Shanahan for defense secretary — Well, ya know, he’s been acting since Mattis left, and nothing has blown up, so why not?
  5. How angry pilots got the Navy to stop dismissing UFO sightings — Of course, they’re aviators, not pilots, but set that aside. This is actually a couple of weeks old, but I wanted to bring it up. Aviators have been seeing white, Tic Tac-shaped vehicles that move like a bat out of you-know-where without any obvious means of propulsion. But while the Service has instituted new reporting procedures, there are no plans to release the reports to the public.
  6. Bezos company aims to take people to moon by 2024 — A nice companion piece for the UFO thing. That’s one small step for a billionaire…

There was something else I was going to put on this virtual page, but I’m forgetting what it was….

Oh, by the way, here’s Avery Wilks’ handwritten how-the-voted list on the football thing:

Your Virtual Front Page for Monday, December 17, 2018

Lamar Alexander, back when we were all young.

Lamar Alexander, back when we were all young.

I’m thinking about changing the emphasis of this blog, at least for a time. As I’ve told you, I’m just not interested much in politics now that the  campaign is over. But I know that’s me, and the experiences I’ve recently been through, and I expect the effect will wear off.

So I’m going to be blogging more about nonpolitical stuff. As you can see from today’s posts so far. But y’all may still want a place to come and talk politics. So I’ll keep including such in my Virtual Front Pages and Open Threads, so that even if I have nothing to say about it, y’all can talk amongst yourselves. So here goes…

  1. Stocks Fall Sharply as Investors Fret Over Growth Outlook (WSJ) — See? I like y’all so much, I’ll even include some financial news, which interests me even less than politics. You can thank me later.
  2. Sen. Lamar Alexander announces he won’t seek another term in 2020 (WashPost) — This is very sad news. Lamar has always been one of the best. And I don’t just say that because he’s the first candidate for statewide office I ever covered (when he was running for governor, in 1978).
  3. Amazon faces boycott ahead of holidays as public discontent grows (The Guardian) — I have to wonder just how effective this can be, since this is the first I’ve heard of it — and it’s in a Brit publication, not anything in this country.
  4. Jesuit order names priests ‘credibly accused’ of sexually abusing children since the 1950s (WP) — The horrorshow continues. A similar report is due from our own diocese soon.
  5. Deer poacher sentenced to watch Bambi in prison (BBC) — Weird news out of America, via Britain.


Your Virtual Front Page, April 6, 2018 — Beach Edition


Sorry I haven’t had a chance to blog. We’ve brought four of our grandchildren down to the beach for a couple of days, since they’re on spring break from school. That keeps you busy.

This will be an actual news-free post. Although maybe someone will take an interest in one of the things that have interested me the last couple of days…

I saw a whale from the beach for the first time ever! — This was pretty exciting, and totally unexpected, even though I’d read about sightings in the area. I’ve been coming to Surfside Beach for six decades, and I’ve never seen a whale out in the water before. Yesterday, we had taken the kids out onto the still-busted Surfside Pier (you can go out about halfway), and just as we got to the barrier that marked our limit, my wife said “Look at that black shape moving through the water!” It looked like it was just a foot or so beneath the surface, and it was moving at an amazing speed. It streaked past the end of the pier, maybe 100 feet away, and headed parallel to the beach toward Garden City. It looked to be about the size of a school bus. Within 10 or 15 seconds it was out of sight. Absolutely amazing.

Have you watched “Detectorists” on Netflix? It’s great — We watched both seasons recently, and it was fun. The comedy, about some Brits who are really, really into metal detecting, is written and directed by Mackenzie Crook, the guy who played Gareth Keenan on The Office. He costars with Toby Jones. In some ways it’s vaguely like “The Office” (we’re talking the original, not the American copy), only kinder and gentler and easier to watch. The humor is low-key and not as cruel — you don’t have to watch the over-the-top, painful humiliation of a David Brent. Anyway, yesterday on the beach we ran into a trio of kids who were real-life detectorists, searching the sand. At the very moment we met them, my grandson, 5, announced he’d just dropped his Lucky Penny. The detectorists pitched in and tried to help, but to no avail. Still, they were nice kids and we appreciated the effort.

Debris on the lawn.

Debris on the lawn.

Who even uses phone books anymore? — Later in the day, we were walking back toward the house when my wife remarked how something, perhaps a carelessly manned garbage truck, had strewn debris all down the street. Then, she noticed it was white plastic bags, and she supposed they were those freebie newspapers everyone throws away. Both guesses were wrong — they were phone books. Yellow-page-style phone books that probably no one on the street had asked for, and probably no one had ever used. But someone had convinced people to advertise in it, which is what such publications are about. Would it pay off for any of the advertisers? Seems doubtful. Who uses phone books?

Meanwhile, perfectly good books get thrown away — This was also yesterday. We were playing around on the public tennis courts when a lady from the Surfside library came wheeling out a loaded book cart, took them straight to a recycling bin, and threw them all away! After a moment, I went over to see what I could scavenge. By the time I got there, a lady who lived across the street had beaten me to it. This was a routine for her — she said they throw away books every week. Most, but not all, were books about writing — how to write a novel and such. I grabbed the two you see below. I thought my mom would enjoy having a manual to help her get the most out of her iPad. I couldn’t resist the title of the other one: As someone who has never been tempted to become a runner, it entertained me on a couple of levels. (No offense, if you own this volume…)


Your Virtual Front Page, Thursday, November 30, 2017

Is it that the missile is so big, or he's just so small?

The experts say it’s a real monster.

I haven’t done one of these in awhile. There’s certainly plenty of news for it:

  1. Senate GOP tax plan hits deficit snag, leaving leaders scrambling — Flake and Corker are refusing to agree to jacking up the national debt. Good for them. In the bad news column, John McCain has agreed to support the bill, despite the news that it will increase the deficit by a trillion over 10 years. That’s very disappointing.
  2. If North Korea fires a nuclear missile at the U.S., how could it be stopped? — I’d be leading with this, since it’s infinitely more important than stupid tax policy. But the actual news of the N. Korean test was yesterday, so it can’t lead today. And the tax thing is breaking. There are rules. Meanwhile, in this story with a rather comical headline, experts note with alarm that Kim’s missile is way bigger than they’d thought.
  3. 2nd undisclosed report shows delays, poor oversight doomed SC nuke project — Hang on. Did I just hear “undisclosed” again? And get this: “State regulators and legislators said Thursday that they were unaware of the Fluor report’s existence until told of it by The State.”
  4. Alan Wilson joins multi-state effort to ban abortion after 20 weeksThe State reports that “Other states whose attorneys general are part of the coalition include West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas.”
  5. White House Plan: Replace Tillerson With C.I.A. Chief — Well, I doubt he’d be any worse. Meanwhile, talk about Nikki Haley getting the job has faded to the background. I suppose if Pompey doesn’t want the job, they’ll go with Crassus or Caesar. Oh, wait — it’s PompeO. (Sorry. I’m still reading, and enjoying, Rubicon.)
  6. Gloria Steinem: ‘I wouldn’t write the same thing now’ — Normally, I pay little attention to what she says about anything, but that piece she wrote defending Bill Clinton in 1998 was so deeply shameful and egregious that this is worth noting. But like the sex harassers who “apologize” with caveats and excuses, she’s still not ashamed that she did it then — and that’s appalling.
"I want you to listen to me... and to Gloria Steinem..."

“I want you to listen to me… and to Gloria Steinem…”

Your Virtual Front Page for Monday, July 31, 2017

Some items to chew on:

  1. SCE&G, Santee Cooper abandon nuclear power project — Wow. Major, major deal.  We’d already spent $1.4 billion, which is more than I make in a year. So… what happens next?
  2. Ding-Dong, the Mooch is out! — Scaramucci lasted 10 days as Trump’s “communications director.” No, wait — it’s been 10 days since it was announced that he would hold that post. (Had he even technically started?) Which, of course, is about 10 days too many. I look forward to reading whether this is a new record, and if not, where it ranks…
  3. Pence takes tough tone on Russia after Putin retaliates against sanctions — Are we fixin’ to go toe-to-toe with the Rooskies? Pence kinda makes it sound that way…
  4. Sam Shepard dead at 73 — Whether as a playwright or an actor, this guy sort of embodied cool there for awhile. He didn’t even look like Yeager, but he was Yeager — while Yeager had to play the barman…
  5. London’s New Subway Symbolized the Future. Then Came ‘Brexit.’ — Way to go, Brexiters. Don’t you know how much I love subways? I put this one in the mix to cleanse the palate.
  6. For First Time, Millennials And Gen-X Were A Majority Of Electorate In 2016 — Nice goin’ there, kids.
And all he got was this lousy postcard...

And all he got was this lousy postcard…

Your Virtual Front Page for Tuesday, April 4, 2017

First one of these for April, which will come whether you’re ready or not:

  1. Worst Chemical Attack in Years in Syria; U.S. Blames Assad (NYT) — We’re talking about at least 58 dead. Victims were foaming at the mouth. Then, the clinics where the stricken were taken were attacked by warplanes and rockets.
  2. Gov. McMaster urges lawmakers to borrow up to $1 billion for road repairs (The State) — You’ve already read about this one, back here. I had expected this governor to be more engaged in what’s actually going on at the State House, instead of sending missives from another planet.
  3. Blackwater founder held secret Seychelles meeting to establish Trump-Putin back channel (WashPost) — The Post touted this cloak-and-dagger story as an exclusive. It happened before Trump’s inauguration.
  4. Midlands driver accused of attempting to run over teens multiple times (The State) — Did you get a load of the mug shot with this one? See below. Couldn’t the booking officer have said, “Enough with the Hannibal Lecter pose,” or at least, “Lift your chin?”
  5. Still celebrating Lady Gamecocks winning national championship (The State) — This is my lame, belated attempt to answer Bud’s complaint. It could be worse. I could be suppressing coverage of the Bowling Green Massacre.
  6. Trump Donates Salary To National Parks Even As He Tries To Cut Interior Department (NPR) — Can you believe this guy? Does he expect applause?
Nancy Meiler, accused of trying to run over teenagers./Sumter County Sheriff's office

Nancy Meiler, 49, accused of trying to run over teenagers./Sumter County Sheriff’s office

Virtual Front Page for Wednesday, the Ides of March, 2017


Artemidorus, do you have any notes to pass on about any of these developments?

  1. U.S. likely to send as many as 1,000 more ground troops to Syria, officials say — So is Trump trying to enforce Obama’s “red line?” And is he sure Putin doesn’t mind?
  2. Russian Agents Are Behind Yahoo Breach, U.S. Says — It’s been noted that these are “the first U.S. criminal cyber charges ever against Russian government officials.” It’s a start. This includes charges against two FSB operatives. Duh-duh-DUHHNNN!
  3. Devin Nunes confirms it: The evidence of Trump Tower being wiretapped doesn’t exist — So now Graham and McCain aren’t the only Republicans to have declared their sanity in this matter. They are joined by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
  4. After House setback, USC takes bid for $50 million for med school to SC Senate — I’m sure Harris made a good case, but it’s not looking like the year for this. Of course, the Senate isn’t the House, but still…
  5. Fed Signals It Is Entering New Phase — This is just about the headline, so inside baseball. Yeah, I know the WSJ is really, really into stuff that I find rather, uh, dry, but dang, people! You could have tried to make it sound interesting. Look at the way the NYT did it (“Fed Raises Rates for 3rd Time Since Financial Crisis“) or NPR (“Federal Reserve Raises Key Interest Rate, Signals 2 More Increases This Year“). Just tell me something about what happened. Throw me a bone, here. I’m the reader; I need the info…
  6. Carolina vs. Coastal this season? It could happen — For my dear readers who clamor for more sports. I’m willing to let this through, because it’s about… BASEBALL! After all, a man becomes preeminent, he’s expected to have enthusiasms. Ent’usiasms… Ent’usiasms
A man stands at the plate alone, it is a time for what?...

A man stands at the plate alone, it is a time for what?…

Your Virtual Front Page for Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Sorry that none of these things is very light. But I won’t dwell on them for long:

  1. Trump Details Plans to Deport Millions of Immigrants — And so it begins. Remember how we used to talk, hypothetically, about how we’d have to become a police state to round up millions of people? Well, no more hypotheticals. This is what we’ve become. My question: Will Trump have to go through Congress for the funding to buy all those new jackboots? But then there’s this version of the story:
  2. Trump administration seeks to prevent ‘panic’ as it outlines broader deportation policies — Spicer says the goal is not “mass deportations.” OK, then — why does the memo call for hiring thousands of additional enforcement agents?
  3. Breitbart writer resigns amid outrage over his pedophilia comments — I had never heard of this guy before today. You? Whoever he is, he doesn’t look like the same person in any two photos. He’s like Clapton in the 70s. Of course, if I said pervy stuff like what he said, I’d try to disguise myself, too.
  4. Trump Denounces Anti-Semitism After Mounting Criticism — I’m of two minds on this. For one thing, I’ve long decried this weird national expectation — which I think got traction during the Clinton administration — that the POTUS have a comment on everything, everywhere, whether it directly bears upon his job or not. On the other hand, when POTUS comments on stuff that didn’t happen in Bowling Green, Atlanta and Sweden, it is kind of nice to have him address something real.
  5. Columbia could lose millions of dollars if SC lawmakers OK business license bills — That poses a genuine problem for Columbia, which starts out in the hole because so much of property in the city is untaxable. But somehow, I don’t expect a lot of business people to lose sleep over it.
  6. Wal-Mart, Home Depot Show Big Box Stores Aren’t Dead — Well, good for them, but if I were Home Depot, I’d worry. For my part, needing a new chainsaw — just for light-to-medium use in the yard — I went to Lowe’s over the weekend and looked at them and hefted them and compared features and prices. But I’m almost certainly going to buy from Amazon. I don’t feel good about it, but there it is.
I'm leaning toward this one -- the WORX 18-Inch 15.0 Amp Electric model with Auto-Tension, Chain Brake, and Automatic Oiling.

I’m leaning toward this one — the WORX 18-Inch 15.0 Amp Electric model with Auto-Tension, Chain Brake, and Automatic Oiling.

Your Virtual Front Page for Wednesday, December 14, 2016



Hey, we have some actual news on the local front today:

  1. State Rep. Merrill accused of misconduct in office, violating state ethics law — The other shoe has finally dropped in the investigation arising from the Bobby Harrell mess. Or perhaps I should say another shoe, since Pascoe says the probe continues, and we have no idea how many feet this critter has.
  2. Fed Lifts Rates, Signals More Increases Next Year — A story like this is like Christmas for the WSJ; they gave it the equivalent of a six-column headline.
  3. Aleppo battle: Raids on Syria city ‘likely a war crime’ UN says — Thank Goodness for British media, else we’d forget the rest of the world is out there. This is leading the BBC.
  4. SC Gov. Haley fires Richland Recreation Commission chair, vice chair — Better yet, she let one of the good-guy members stay on instead of firing everybody. So good one, governor.
  5. Democratic House Candidates Were Also Targets — Part two of the NYT’s series on what the Russians did to undermine our electoral process.
  6. Legendary jewel thief Doris Payne, age 86, caught stealing diamond necklace — A change of pace, for the mix. Maybe she should take a page from Cary Grant’s character in “To Catch a Thief” and retire. Don’t you think she’s earned it at this point?
Grant's character had the good sense to retire to a place with a view.

Grant’s character had the good sense to retire to a place with a view.

Your Virtual Front Page for Friday, October 28, 2016

How big a deal is this Clinton emails story? Well, years ago when I was a front-page editor I had occasion to study the front pages of major papers across the country, and I concluded the NYT had THE most exquisite, nuanced sense of how important a story was, and how to play it. Most days, the NYT's Web lede is confined to one column. Here's how they played this.

How big a deal is this Clinton emails story? Well, years ago when I was a front-page editor I had occasion to study the front pages of major papers across the country very carefully, and I concluded the NYT had THE most exquisite, nuanced sense of how important a story was, and how to play it. Most days, the NYT’s Web lede is confined to one column. Here’s how they played this (three columns, essentially).

I promised y’all an Open Thread, but decided on a VFP instead (if you care what the difference is, ask and I’ll explain down in the comments):

  1. FBI to review Clinton emails found on Weiner’s device (WashPost) — At this point, if you’re Hillary Clinton, the last thing you want to see — on every major news outlet’s lede story — is your name and “Weiner” in the same headline. Right now, the candidate’s wishing Anthony and Huma were still together so she could tell Huma to go slap him up ‘side the head.
  2. Stocks Rattled by Clinton Email Review (WSJ) — Yeah, I’ll bet.
  3. Recreation board refuses Haley’s request for sexual harassment report (The State) — This is a bit old now — it was in The State this morning. But… really? I love the sarcastic nod to transparency when the board came out of executive session to make this decision in a three-minute public session. Why’d they do this? Well, “Green and the five board members at the meeting refused comment and left the meeting without speaking to reporters.”
  4. U.N.: ISIS Is Using Tens Of Thousands Of Civilians As Human Shields In Mosul (NPR) — Yep, that sounds like something they’d do. Anyway, while Anthony “Look at My” Weiner is paralyzing the world’s greatest democracy, this is going on…
  5. Why do so few Americans vote? (BBC) — We are a never-ending source of fascination to our friends, the Brits. They just can’t get over our little quirks.
  6. 2nd District debate will be shown live on YouTube (The State) — That’s good to know. And the Series should be over by then, so I might even watch it. If I do, I’ll live-Tweet it…

Your Virtual Front Page for Monday, October 17, 2016


Just as an exercise in discipline, I’m going to force myself to do a VFP despite this being a light news day. Hey, real newspapers have to, so it’s good to keep my hand in. To make it even harder, I’ll stick to the old 1980s-era rule of having six stories. No copping out:

  1. Iraqi troops ‘ahead of schedule’ in Mosul battle against IS (BBC) — Yep, I’m leading with something actually important enough to be the lede, rather than something that merely entertains you. And I’m not sorry.
  2. SC Chamber’s political arm backs Democrat McLeod (The State) — This surprise you? It certainly surprised me, since Mia isn’t even the first choice of all the Democrats in her district. This is a real coup for her, and a blow to Susan Brill. I wanted to read more, but it doesn’t seem to be on the group’s website yet.
  3. NPR Poll: Are Parents Overrating The Quality Of Child Care? (NPR) — The answer, by the way, is yes. This is similar to what we found at ADCO doing focus groups for a group working with Child Care Services division of DSS a few years back: People tend to rationalize that their childcare provider is just fine.
  4. NFL ratings plunge could spell doom for traditional TV (WashPost) — This story’s actually a couple of three days old, but I just enjoyed it on so many levels that I thought I’d share it. Meanwhile, Netflix just had a huge jump in its stock.
  5. Ecuador cut off Julian Assange’s internet access, WikiLeaks says (The Guardian) — Good for Ecuador, my childhood home! And I thought they didn’t love us anymore…
  6. Nobel panel gives up knockin’ on Dylan’s door (The Guardian) — The folks in Stockholm can’t get a response from him. This is so Dylan. They shouldn’t worry, though, until he changes his voicemail recording to “Positively 4th Street.”

How about that? Despite (or perhaps because of) the lack of hard news out there, I came up with a pretty interesting, diverse set of topics for you. And nothing about Donald Trump! You can thank me later.

And no, I’m not deliberately ignoring the situation with the Iranian-backed rebels shooting at a U.S. warship. But we had a good discussion about that earlier, and I’m not seeing any new developments on it today. I looked…

Your Virtual Front Page for Wednesday, October 12, 2016


The top stories out there at the moment:

  1. Recreation Commission director indicted on misconduct in office charge (The State) — Some of you have wondered when, oh when, some of these investigations might bear fruit. Well, here you go. And it really didn’t take all that long. The bigger problem is that in any normally constituted system of government, he’d have been fired by now. That is the systemic flaw that needs to be addressed.
  2. No warning for flooded Little Pee Dee River residents (Sun-News) — The effects of Matthew are not over, people. And if you like numbers better than words, here’s an attempt to tally the costs thus far.
  3. Fearing backlash, some Republicans fall back in line behind Trump (WashPost) — These Republicans are a bunch of… what’s that word Trump likes to use so much?
  4. What’s In The Latest WikiLeaks Dump of Clinton Campaign Emails (NPR) — I haven’t found a lot to get excited about, but that’s me — I would never want to give that creep Assange the satisfaction.
  5. Fed Officials Plan to Increase Rates ‘Relatively Soon’ (WSJ) — For those of you who hang breathlessly on such reports. I know it’s important; I just find it so hard to care. Not that I don’t understand it. It’s about money, right?
  6. Harrison Ford’s Star Wars injury results in $2m fine for British firm (The Guardian) — He was injured by the hydraulic door of the Millennium Falcon. Personally, I think he should have sued that ship’s owner and operator. Oh, wait…
Who cares if it made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs? This door is a threat to life and limb...

Who cares if it made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs? This door is a threat to life and limb…